Document 17547403

Unit 9 Sustainable Cities and Waste
Key Terms (Terms appear in the same font style as they appear in the text.)
Basal Convention (p. 544)
bioplastic (p. 528)
bioremediation (p. 537)
brownfields (p. 536)
composting (p. 527)
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and
Liability Act (p. 535)
cradle-to-grave responsibility (p. 524)
cyclodextrin (p. 536)
deep-well disposal (p. 539)
dioxins (p. 522)
dirty dozen (p. 545)
electronic waste (p. 522)
environmental justice (p. 543)
environmental justice movement (p. 544)
fee-per-bag (p. 524)
garbage (p. 520)
hazardous (toxic) waste (p. 520)
hazardous waste (p. 533)
high-waste approach (p. 523)
industrial solid waste (p. 520)
integrated waste management (p. 523)
low-waste approach (p. 523)
materials-recovery facilities (MRFs) (527)
municipal solid waste (p. 520)
National Priorities List (NPL) (p. 535)
nonomagnets (p. 536)
open dumps (p. 531)
pay-as-you-throw (PAUT) (p. 527)
persistent organic pollutants (POPs) (p. 544)
phytoremediation (p. 537)
plasma torch (p. 538)
pollution prevention (p. 536)
post-consumer wastes (p. 527)
precautionary principle (p. 545)
preconsumer waste (p. 527)
primary (closed-loop) recycling (p. 527)
recycling (p. 526)
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) (p. 534)
resource containers (p. 523)
reuse (p. 525)
sanitary landfills (p. 531)
secondary recycling (downcycling) (p. 527)
secure hazardous-waste landfills (p. 540)
solid waste (p. 520)
source separation (p. 527)
Superfund program (p. 535)
surface impoundments (p. 539)
throughput (p. 527)
trash (p. 520)
waste management (p. 523)
waste reduction (p. 523)
waste-to-energy incinerators (p. 530)
22-1 Wasting Resources
Solid waste is another kind of resource; the United States is not utilizing this resource well. The affluence of the United States is
reflected in the fact that less than 5% of the world’s population produces 33% of the world’s solid waste.
A. Solid waste is unwanted/discarded material that is not liquid/gaseous.
1. For the most part, good and services produce this waste indirectly.
2. Municipal solid waste (garbage/trash) comes mostly from homes and workplaces.
B. Solid waste is a sign of a society’s waste of its resources: aluminum, tires, disposable diapers, e-waste, plastic bottles, edible food,
etc. Electronic waste (e-waste) is the fastest growing type of solid waste.
22-2 Integrated Waste Management
A. One method to reduce waste and pollution is to implement waste management. This high-waste approach accepts waste production
as a result of economic growth.
1. It attempts to reduce environmental harm.
2. It transfers the waste from one part of the environment to another.
B. One method is waste reduction. This low-waste approach sees solid waste as a potential resource, which should be reused, recycled,
or composted.
1. It discourages waste production in the first place.
2. It encourages waste reduction and prevention.
3. Waste reduction saves matter and energy resources, reduces pollution, helps protect biodiversity, and saves money.
C. To cut waste production and promote sustainability, we must reduce consumption and redesign our products. These are the six
1. Consume less.
2. Use less materials and energy by redesign manufacturing processes and products.
3. Produce less waste and pollution by redesign manufacturing processes.
4. Develop products which are easily repaired, reused, remanufactured, composted, or recycled.
5. Design products with long lives.
6. Eliminate or reduce unnecessary packaging. Advocate nude packaging, minimal packaging or reusable packaging.
D. A design revolution has encouraged the use of less material and energy for each unit of goods and services.
1. Products that use less material have been substituted for previous products.
2. Products, which take less material/energy to produce, have been made: electronic products, instead of paper.
E. A resource productivity revolution will get 75-90% more work/service from each unit of material resources that we use.
22-3 Reuse
Reusing products helps reduce resource use, waste and pollution; it also saves money.
A. Developing countries reuse their products; but there is a health hazard for the poor.
B. U. S. e-waste goes to developing countries where workers are exposed to toxic metals, dioxins, etc.
C. Large city dumps expose scavengers to toxins and infectious diseases.
D. Refillable containers create jobs, costs less for the product, and lessen waste.
E. Shopping bags, food containers, pallets, and tools can be reused/borrowed.
22-4 Recycling
Recycling collects waste materials, turn them into useful products, and sells the new products.
A. Five types of materials can be recycled: paper products, glass, aluminum, steel, and some plastics.
B. Recycling saves money and creates jobs, more than burning or landfilling wastes.
C. Recycling processing consists of two methods; primary recycling is preferred.
1. Primary/closed-loop recycling when new products of the same type are created from the waste: new newspaper from old
2. Secondary/downcycling converts waste materials into different products.
D. Pre-consumer/internal waste is generated from a manufacturing process that is recycled. Post-consumer/external waste is generated
by consumer use of products.
E. Composting biodegradable organic wastes is a great way to mimic nature.
F. Solid waste recycling can be done in a materials-recovery facility (MRF). Machines shred and separate the mixed waste and sell
raw materials to manufacturers. The wastes are recycled and/or burned to produce energy; but such plants are expensive. They,
also, must process a large input of garbage.
G. Source Separation recycling relies on households and businesses to separate their trash; these are collected and sold to other dealers.
1. This produces less air and water pollution.
2. This method has less startup costs and operating costs.
3. It saves more energy and provides more jobs than MRFs.
4. Pay-as-you-throw (PAUT) waste collection systems charge for the mixed waste that is picked up but not for the recycled,
separated materials.
H. Plastic recycling is not feasible because of these problems.
1. Plastics are difficult to isolate in different materials.
2. Not much individual plastic resin is recoverable per product.
3. Recycled resin is much more expensive than virgin plastic resin.
I. A new polymer, polyactide (ACT), made by Cargill and Dow is being used to produce plastic containers, which can be composted
for a soil conditioner.
J. The economics of recycling depends on the cost one counts.
1. The economic, environmental, and health benefits far outweigh the costs of recycling.
2. But some materials cost more than it is worth.
K. Factors, which hinder reuse and recycling, are:
1. The cost of a product does not include harmful environmental health costs in its life cycle.
2. Resource-extracting industries receive government tax breaks and subsidies while recycle and reuse industries do not.
3. Landfill charges are low in the U.S.
4. The demand and price for recycled materials fluctuates so there is less interest in committing to this method.
22-5 Burning and Burying Solid Waste
A. Municipal solid waste is burned in waste-to-energy incinerators, which produces steam for heating or producing electricity.
B. The advantages and disadvantages of burning solid waste are: (given in Figure 24-13)
1. High operating costs
2. Air pollution concerns
3. Citizen opposition to the process
C. Most solid waste is buried in landfills, which will leak toxic liquids into the soil and water.
1. Open dumps in the ground hold garbage; sometimes it is covered with dirt.
2. Sanitary landfills spread the solid waste out in thin layers, compact it, and cover it daily with clay/plastic foam. Modern
landfills line the bottom with an impermeable liner, which collects leachate; rainwater is contaminated as it percolates through
the solid waste. The leachate is collected, stored in tanks and then sent to a sewage treatment plant. But all landfills will
eventually leak contaminants.
22-6 Hazardous Waste
Hazardous waste is discarded solid or liquid material that may explode and/or release toxic fumes. This material is toxic, ignitable,
corrosive and reactive. Developed countries produce 80% of the hazardous waste.
A. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulates about 5% of the U.S. hazardous waste.
B. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERLA/Superfund program) was passed in 1980.
1. The law identifies hazardous waste sites
2. The law provides for clean-up of these sites on a priority basis.
3. The worst sites go on a National Priorities List (NPL) and are scheduled for total cleanup.
4. There are, also, laws that provide for cleaning up brown fields, abandoned sites contaminated with hazardous wastes like
factories, gas stations, junkyards, etc.
C. Chemical and biological methods can be used to reduce the toxicity of hazardous wastes or to remove them.
1. Treatment facilities can detoxify hazardous and toxic wastes.
2. One biological treatment, bioremediation, uses bacteria and enzymes to help destroy hazardous or toxic substances. They are
converted to harmless compounds in the process.
3. Phytoremediation uses natural or genetically engineered plants to absorb, filter and remove contaminants from polluted water
and soil. The advantages and disadvantages of phytoremediation are: (Figure 24-19)
D. Hazardous waste regulation in the United States.
1. Both the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Superfund Act were supported to deal with hazardous wastes.
2. Brownfields are contaminated industrial/commercial sites.
22-7 What is the best method to dispose of hazardous waste?
A. Incineration or disposal on/underneath the earth pollute the air and water.
B. Incineration also release air pollutants and produces a toxic ash.
C. Deep-well disposal pumps liquid hazardous waste into dry, porous geologic formations far beneath water sources. Many scientists
believe current regulations for deep-well disposal are inadequate.
D. Surface impoundments are depressions excavated into the earth, like ponds, pits or lagoons, which are used to store liquid hazardous
wastes. With evaporation, the wastes settle and become more concentrated. EPA studies found this method inadequate.
E. In secure hazardous waste landfills, liquid and solid hazardous waste are stored in drums or other containers and buried. Carefully
designed aboveground buildings can be used to store hazardous waste; the waste is contained in the upper floor; on the lower floor,
leaks can, then, be easily identified.
F. All of these methods have disadvantages and advantages and their ability to protect groundwater is probably limited.
22-8 Toxic Lead and Mercury
A. Lead is a toxic metal and poses environmental threats in many countries, especially to the nervous systems of children.
1. Lead poisoning can produce palsy, partial paralysis, blindness, mental retardation, hyperactivity, hearing damage, and
behavioral disorders. Such poisoning is a risk in many places of the world.
2. Methods to protect children from lead poisoning include: (figure 24-25).
B. Mercury is released through burning coal and incineration of wastes.
1. Mercury can be found in high levels in some types of fish.
2. In the US up to 300,00 babies born each year are in risk of cerebral palsy, delayed onset of walking and talking, learning
disabilities, loss of memory, and impaired coordination due to exposure to methylmercury while still in the womb.
3. Methods of preventing mercury poisoning include: (figure 24-27).
22-9 Achieving a low-waste society
Environmental injustice has been practiced by placing hazardous treatment plants, incinerators, and landfills in communities
populated by minority populations in the United States.
A. Opposition to such has grown so that local, grass-root groups have successfully opposed the construction of such facilities. Health
risks for people living near these facilities are much higher than for the general population.
B. NIMBY: ‘not in my backyard’ philosophy has been replaced, by most of citizens, to the NOPE principle—not on planet EARTH or
‘not in anyone’s backyard.’
C. In 2000, a global treaty to control twelve persistent organic pollutants (POPs) was developed.
To be made effective, fifty countries must ratify the treaty.
1. POPs are toxic chemicals stored in the fatty tissue of humans and other organisms.
2. Twelve chemicals, the dirty dozen, need to be phased out, detoxified and/or isolated.
D. There are four principles for transitioning to a low-waste society:
1. Everything is connected.
2. There is no place to send wastes “away.”
3. Diluting waste is not the solution to pollution.
4. The best solution is to prevent waste and pollution and, then, reuse/recycle the materials that we use.
5. It is necessary to detoxify the US economy.
1. Solid waste is any unwanted or discarded material that is not a liquid or a gas. Thirty-three percent of the world’s solid wasted is produced
by one country – the United States – which represents 4.6% or the world’s population.
2. Waste management, waste reduction, reduced usage and pollution prevention can all be used to reduce, reuse, or recycle solid waste.
3. The advantages of burning waste include reduction of trash volume, minimizing the need for landfills, and lowering water pollution. The
disadvantages include high cost, air pollution, producing toxic ash, and encouraging waste production. The advantages of burying wastes
include safety, wastes can be retrieved, ease of application, and low cost. Disadvantages include leaks and spills, existing fractures or
earthquakes can cause waste escape, and encouraging waste production.
4. Hazardous waste is any discarded solid or liquid material that is toxic, ignitable, corrosive, or reactive enough to explode or release toxic
fumes. We can use a pollution prevention or waste reduction approach to reduce production and manage existing hazardous waste mostly
by burning or burying it.
5. Physical methods such as filtering and distilling, chemical reactions, bioremediation, phytoremediation, and plasma torches can all be used
to detoxify hazardous waste.
6. Advantages of burning hazardous waste include reduction of waste volume, minimizing the need for storage space and lowering water
pollution. The disadvantages include air pollutants such as toxic dioxins and production of toxic ash that must be stored. Advantages of
burying hazardous waste include safety, wastes can be retrieved, ease of application, and low cost. Disadvantages include leaks and spills,
existing fractures or earthquakes can cause waste escape, and encouraging waste production.
7. We can prevent lead poisoning through reduces use of lead gasoline and waste incineration, testing blood by age 1, and by banning lead
solder, glazing, and candles containing lead. Mercury pollution can be prevented by reducing waste incineration, removing mercury from
coal, using natural gas in the place of coal, and phasing out use of mercury in all products unless they are recycled. Dioxin pollution can
be prevented by reducing waste incineration, banning the use of chlorine for bleaching paper, eliminating chlorinated hydrocarbon
compounds burned in iron ore sintering plants and cement kilns, and testing of livestock forage and feed.
8. The United States regulates hazardous waste through the 1976 Resource Conservation and Recover Act that was amended in 1984.
9. Transition to a more sustainable low-waste society involves preventing the building of new incinerators, landfills, and treatment plants, as
well as a focus on pollution prevention and the use of the precautionary principle.
Key Terms
aging infrastructure (p. 551)
barrios (p. 557)
bicycle (p. 559)
Bowash (p. 525)
budget crunches (p. 551)
buses (p. 560)
car-sharing networks (p. 559)
cluster development (p. 564)
compact cities (p. 558)
deteriorating services (p. 551)
dispersed cities (p. 558)
ecocities (green cities) (p. 548)
ecocity (p. 566)
ecological footprints (p. 554)
environmental sustainability (p. 565)
fecal snow (p. 557)
full-cost pricing (p. 559)
fundamental land (p. 563)
green city (p. 566)
greenbelt (P. 564)
heavy-rail (p. 559)
immigration (p. 549)
land-use planning (p. 562)
light pollution (p. 556)
light-rail (p. 559)
megacities (megalopolises) (p. 549)
megalopolis (p. 552)
metropolitan areas (p. 550)
mixed-use and diversity (p. 565)
natural increase (p. 549)
new suburbanism (p. 565)
new urbanism (p. 565)
property taxes (p. 562)
pull factors (p. 549)
push factors (p. 549)
quality urban design (p. 565)
rapid-rail system (p. 560)
rising poverty (p. 551)
shantytowns (p. 556)
slums (p. 556)
smart growth (p. 562)
smart transportation (p. 565)
squatter settlements (p. 556)
tax shift (p. 559)
urban growth (p. 549)
urban growth boundary (p. 564)
urban heat island (p. 555)
urban sprawl (p. 551)
urbanization (p. 549)
walkability (p. 565)
zoning (p. 562)
23-1 Urbanization and Urban Growth
A. Urban populations are attracting more and more people throughout the world, developing into centers of poverty.
1. About one half of the world’s people live in cities/densely populated urban areas, drawn there for better jobs and a better life.
2. Cities provide jobs, food, housing, a better life, entertainment, and freedom from religious, racial, and political conflicts of
village life.
3. People are pushed to cities by poverty, no land, declining work, famine, and war.
B. Urban trends that affect urban growth are:
1. The number/proportion of people living in urban areas is growing.
a. Most urban areas are along countries’ coastal areas.
b. Most huge urban areas are in developing countries.
2. The number of large cities (a million or more people) is increasing rapidly.
a. Megacities or megalopolises contain 10 million+ people.
b. Megalopolis is a merger of a city(cities) and adjacent urban areas; two such areas are Bowash (Boston-Washington) and
Chipitts (Chicago-Pittsburgh).
3. Urban population is rapidly increasing in developing countries.
4. Urban growth is much more rapid in developing countries, but developed countries will be 84% urbanized by 2030.
5. Poverty is becoming more common in urban areas, especially in developing countries.
C. Three of four Americans live in urban areas; about half of them live in suburban areas. These urban areas are cities with at least a
population of 50,000 people.
1. People first migrated from rural areas to large central cities.
2. Then, people migrated from large central cities to suburbs/smaller cities.
3. Next, people migrated from the North and East to the South and West (1980--).
4. Lastly, some have migrated away from urban areas back to rural areas (1990--).
D. Urban life’s quality in America has improved but problems remain.
1. Overall, people have better working and housing conditions and improved air and water quality. City services have improved.
2. Older cities have deteriorating services and aging infrastructures.
a. Budget cuts compromise services and infrastructures.
b. Poverty in cities is rising, as is unemployment.
E. Urban areas tend to sprawl outward and eat up surrounding countryside—urban sprawl.
1. Low-density development is growing and encouraging dependence on cars.
2. Sprawl is a byproduct of affordable land, cars, poor urban planning, and cheap gas.
3. Problems caused have been decreased energy efficiency; increased urban flooding; destruction of cropland, forest, and open
space; and longer travel time.
23-2Urban Environmental and Resource Problems
A. The advantages of urbanization:
1. Cities are centers of economic development, jobs, commerce, and transportation.
2. Urban populations are generally healthier with better access to medical care, family planning information, education, and social
3. Recycling is more feasible and environmental protection is better supported.
4. People concentrated in an area preserves biodiversity and wildlife habitats.
B. The disadvantages of urbanization:
1. Cities do not sustain themselves; they concentrate pollutants and noise, spread infectious diseases, and are centers of crime,
poverty, and terrorism.
2. They threaten biodiversity, produce huge wastes, and consume about 75% of the world’s resources.
3. Cities huge use of resources depletes the environments around them. Flooding is a problem because of location and water
4. The heat produced in cities creates urban heat islands that affect the climate over a large area and keep polluted air from being
C. The urban poor and the rural poor both live in unhealthy conditions.
1. Large cities have squatter settlements and shantytowns for the poor—places that provide metal, plastic sheets, scrap wood, and
discarded packing crates to build shelters. Some places develop communities with hope for a better life.
These urban settlements have the worst/nonexistent services: lack of clean water, sewers, electricity, etc. There are often severe
air, water, and hazardous waste pollutants.
3. Governments often force people away; they resettle somewhere else and the cycle begins again.
4. The rural poor tend to have more children and less educational opportunity.
5. Mexico City is an environmental nightmare and an urban disaster.
a. The negatives of Mexico City are overwhelming: rapid population growth, severe pollution, disease, and poverty.
b. About 1 in every 6 Mexicans lives in the city; they suffer from high unemployment, noise, traffic congestion, soaring
crime, etc. Barrios are the slum settlements.
c. Lack of sewage services has produced bacteria-laden, dried, human excrement, which is spread by the wind; it is called
fecal snow and causes widespread salmonella and hepatitis.
d. Breathing the air in Mexico City is the same as smoking three packs of cigarettes per day.
e. The city’s air and water pollution causes 100,000 premature deaths per year.
23-3Transportation and Urban Development
A. The amount of available land determines if a city grows outward or upward as well as the type of transportation systems used.
1. Those in compact cities, those growing upward, use mass transit systems, walk, or ride bicycles.
2. Those people in sprawling cities use individual automobile transportation.
B. Cars rule in the United States because of large areas of relatively cheap land.
1. The U.S. is overrun with automobiles, using 32% of the world’s cars and consuming 43% of the world’s gas.
C. Cars have advantages and disadvantages.
1. Cars make people mobile and fuel the economy.
2. Cars kill people, pollute, and waste time when traffic jams occur.
D. To reduce automobile use, users must pay for the car’s harm by paying greater gasoline taxes, giving up the government subsidies
for cars, subsidizing mass transit systems, and raising use fees.
E. Political pressures and the love of the automobile interfere with efforts to decrease the importance/presence of automobiles. Fast,
efficient, and reliable mass transit is not available and people live all over, not in well-defined areas.
F. The use of any alternative to automobile transportation—bicycles, walking, scooters, buses, subways, rail systems, etc.—would
benefit the U.S. environment.
G. The United States had an efficient streetcar system that was bought and destroyed by an alliance of companies that wanted to
promote car and bus sales.
23-4Urban Land-Use Planning and Control
A. Most land-use planning in the United States is based on continued population growth and therefore leads to urban sprawl and
environmental degradation.
B. Zoning can be used to control growth and protect certain areas, but can also discourage innovative solutions to environmental
C. Smart growth discourages urban sprawl, protects ecologically sensitive land and water, and develops environmentally sustainable
urban areas. These methods help channel growth to areas where it does less harm.
D. Oregon developed an efficient land-use planning process in which land was permanently zoned, all urban areas had growth
boundaries, and gave control of land-use planning to the Land Conservation and Development Commission.
E. Open space can be preserved by urban growth boundaries, greenbelts, small and large parks, and cluster developments.
F. Cluster developments and mixed-used housing and villages are more energy efficient and environmentally sound than the familiar
suburban housing developments.
23-5Making Urban Areas More Livable and Sustainable
A. Ecocities are people-oriented, preserve biodiversity, and emit low pollution.
1. Buildings, vehicles, and appliances meet high energy-efficient standards.
2. Native trees and plants abound for noise buffers, pollution reduction, and animal sanctuaries.
3. Urban sprawl is not allowed to gobble up near-by forests, grasslands, wetlands, and farms.
4. Food is raised in the city in community gardens, window boxes, garden rooftops and comes from nearby organic farms and solar
5. There are ecocities all over the world: Waitakere City in New Zealand, Leicester in England, Portland in Oregon, and
Chattanooga in Tennessee.
B. Chattanooga, Tennessee is on of the United State’s most sustainable and livable cites.
1. In the 1950s, Chattanooga was an industrial wasteland with highly polluted air and toxic water.
2. Local officials and citizens transformed Chattanooga into a beautiful city with zero-emission industry, zero-emission electric
buses, satellite parking with bus service, extensive recycling programs, and new tourist attractions.
1. Almost half of the world’s population lives in urban areas and half in rural areas. Government policies, poverty, lack of land to grow
food, declining agricultural jobs, famine, and war that force people out of rural areas are all factors that determine how urban areas
2. Urban areas are rarely self-sustaining, threaten biodiversity, destroy and damage ecosystems, lack trees, grow little of their own food,
concentrate pollutants and noise, spread infectious disease, and are centers of poverty, crimes, and terrorism.
3. Urban areas relying on mass transportation spread vertically and urban areas relying on automobiles spread horizontally. Advantages of
automobiles include convenience, personal benefits, and boosted economies, Disadvantages include air pollution, promotion or urban
sprawl, increase in death rate, and time-an gas-wasting traffic jams. Advantages of bicycles and motor scooters include low cost, little to
no air or noise pollution, require little space, and are energy efficient. Disadvantages include little accident protection, impractical for
long distances, can be tiring, little parking, and gas scooter engines emit high air pollution. Mass transit rail systems are more energy
efficient than cars, produce lower air pollution, require less land, cause fewer injuries and deaths, and reduce car congestion.
Disadvantages include high cost to build and maintain, rigid schedules, noise pollution, and they are cost effective only in densely
populated areas. Buses are more flexible than rail systems, can easily be rerouted, cost less to develop, and can reduce car use.
Disadvantages include rigid schedules, noise pollution, and they are not always cost efficient. Rapid rail systems can reduce car and
plane travel, are ideal for long trips, and re more efficient than cars and planes. Disadvantages include high operation and maintenance
cost, noise pollution, and they are not always cost efficient.
Land-use planning, zoning, and smart growth can be used for planning and controlling urban growth.
Cities can be made more sustainable and more desirable places to live by creating parks, greenbelts, urban growth boundaries, cluster
developments, mixed-use villages, greenways, and ecocities.